Sarah Snook Thinks Shiv Roy's Big Spit in 'Succession' Is 'Sexy'

Episode 3 of Season 3 contains the expectoration that is sending the internet abuzz.

succession
HBO
HBO

When the first teaser for the third season of HBO's Succession arrived, fans of the show went wild, but one specific moment stood out: Sarah Snook's Shiv Roy serving up a juicy wad of spit. It was the loogie that sent the internet ablaze. Even before the new season premiered, the image had been turned into a GIF, and there was a chorus of people on Twitter asking Shiv to spit on them. 

After Episode 3, we know the full context. Shiv, newly appointed president of Waystar Royco, was presenting at a companywide Town Hall when her brother Kendall (Jeremy Strong) hijacks the scene. He blasts Nirvana's "Rape Me" out of a series of speakers while she tries to quell concerns of sexual misconduct. She's humiliated, so she storms to his office where she finds evidence of his heist. She picks up a notebook, flips to a page, and ejects a big wad of spit while choking back tears.

"I definitely was aware that people were going nuts for the spitting in the journal moment," Snook tells Thrillist. "Maybe something about it is because it's so what we perceive as unwomanly and unfeminine and there's something really base about it and animal. It's a childish thing to do, and yet somehow, because now we get the context and we know what it's from and see the anger that she has, there's something really powerful about it and also sexy. It's dirty. It's unexpected."

Shiv's spit was also a shocking development for Snook given the COVID restrictions the cast was dealing with as they filmed this season. "I was reading the episode with my husband and we were like, 'That's not COVID safe, what are we going to do there?'" she says.

For as much as the expectoration is a hilariously juvenile move, when Shiv composes herself and strikes back in earnest, she does it with even more force. She pens a brutal letter aimed at Kendall, describing him as an addict and misogynist with "disordered thinking." It's so mean even Connor (Alan Ruck) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) won't sign it.

Upon first encountering Shiv's nasty power move, Snook just wanted to make it "believable." "It's a horrible thing to say," she says. "And there's something that all the Roy children do, which is a blind ego narcissism where they believe they are right. It's a Logan trait, I think. Shiv just goes into that mindset."

That Roy desire to dig in her heels is something that is central to Shiv's quest this season, Snook adds. "She's wondering whose side she's on," she says. "She's doubling down on being part of this company and a part of this family—or if not the family, then to own the company and, in that sort of the sense, the family as well. Or running the family, at least. She's trying to find her own identity within this game plan." And she's willing to spit on anyone who gets in her way.

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.